NEWS | Dec. 4, 2018

Coast Guard, Honolulu City and County Complete Successful Response Exercise Off Oahu

By Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir U.S. Coast Guard District 14 Hawaii Pacific

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- The Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Honolulu Fire Department, Honolulu Police Department, and Oahu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services concluded a successful two-day search and rescue exercise in the vicinity offshore from Ko'olina to Kahe Point.

"The exercise went very well," said Lt. Brock Blaisdell, command center chief, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. We're fortunate to work with an all-around great team and enjoy strong partnerships with our fellow search and rescue partners. A lot of effort and resources went toward the event which resulted in the successful discovery of Oscar, our simulated person in distress, about two hours after the initial call."

On day one of the exercise, a group of about 40 members from Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, Honolulu City and County Fire Department, Ocean Safety and the Honolulu Police Department to discuss safety, strategy, communication and demonstrate assets to understand each other's capabilities. The following day a multi-agency search and rescue live exercise was conducted for a simulated lost person in the water off the West Side of Oahu.

Assets included:
- The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) and crew
- An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point,
- A 45-foot Response-Boat Medium and crew from Coast Guard Station Honolulu
- Boat and aircrews from the Coast Guard Auxiliary
- Honolulu Fire helicopter, boat, and fire crews
- Jet Skis from Oahu Ocean Safety

These search and rescue exercises are conducted semi-annually throughout the islands to evaluate notification and response procedures between first responders and to identify shortfalls in communication and coordination of response during SAR incidents. Each agency holds individual capabilities that complement each other's efforts and bolsters the overall success of the SAR system.

''The purpose is to continue building and improving operational cohesion between other agencies and us," said Ensign Seth Gross, a Sector Honolulu search and rescue coordinator. "We hold these exercises semi-annually, and they revolve throughout the islands. The west side of the island is known to be more remote with dynamic currents, but increasingly draws visitors and locals alike. It has also been the site of an aircraft incident in recent years."